Xavier Trips Up Iowa In St. Thomas

Nov. 19, 2010

St. Thomas, USVI — The Iowa men’s basketball team came up on the short end of an 86-73 decision to Xavier on Friday night in its opening game of the 2010 Paradise Jam, but the Hawkeyes didn’t go quietly.

After falling behind by as many as 22 points (69-47) midway through the second half, Iowa employed a 1-2-2 zone and implemented a trapping defense to stage its comeback. Iowa’s defense limited Xavier to a single shot and the offense trimmed a 73-52 score at the 9:41 mark into a 76-65 deficit with 4:29 to play.

“We had a unique line-up on the floor that really battled to get us back into the game,” said Head Coach Fran McCaffery. “I challenged Eric (May) to step up and use his athleticism at halftime, and he responded in the second half. Devon (Archie) was absolutely spectacular as well.”

The Hawkeyes got as close as they would come when they cut the gap to eight points on a Melsahn Basabe dunk with exactly two minutes to play. The Muskateers, however, converted from the charity stripe, making seven-of-eight free throws in the final two minutes to run out 13-point winners.

Four Iowa players finished the game in double digits with junior Matt Gatens leading the team with 15 points in his first action of the season. May added 11 points, while Basabe and Archie both netted 10. Archie also pulled down 11 rebounds to tally his first double-double of the season.

Xavier 86, Iowa 73 1st 2nd Final
Iowa 31 42 73
Xavier 42 44 86
Statistical Leaders
Points: Matt Gatens (UI) 15 | Holloway (XU) 28
Rebounds: Devon Archie (UI) 11 | McLean (XU) 11
Assists: Matt Gatens (UI) 3 | Holloway (XU) 7

Iowa hung close for the majority of the first half before Xavier took an 11-point lead into the locker room. The Muskateers shot a blistering 56 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, while limiting the Hawkeyes to 38.5 percent shooting from the field. XU’s Tu Holloday netted 11 first half points before finishing the contest with a game-high 27 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including a 16-of-18 mark from the charity stripe.

“We started off really struggling offensively, but we were able to hang in there and go into the break down by 11,” said McCaffery. “We lost the game at the start of the second half.”

The Hawkeyes will look to improve on the go, as the squad will return to action tomorrow evening at 5 p.m. against Alabama. The Crimson Tide dropped an 83-78 decision to Seton Hall earlier in the day in St. Thomas.

“I thought our attention to detail today was okay, but it has to be better,” said McCaffery. “To beat a team like Xavier or Alabama, it has to be better.”